Then the Holy Spirit swirled before me again, this time gathering up all of the remaining fire and light. He too passed through the apartment wall. Instantly, the gifts became internal and no longer adorned me externally. The wall closed.
"Father," I whispered, "who am I to marry a King? I come with nothing. I have no dowry. I do not even have a hope chest with linens and ... "
Before I could continue, my Father thundered audibly in the room: "Can I not provide linens for My children?" Immediately, I heard a knock at the front door of the apartment. Although engrossed in all that was occurring, I managed to cross to the door and open it.
"Hello, Anna," blurted a tall angel. I say that he was an angel because he called me by the name that at the time was known only in heaven. Also, he was dressed in Bedouin attire (uncommon apparel for this continent). Beyond him in the parking lot, I saw a caravan of twenty-four camels with Bedouin attendants.
I shot a quick glance around the apartment complex. My husband and I were living in a low-rent housing facility in Florida. We had adjusted fairly well to these living conditions since we had learned to duck when the neighbors were shooting at each other. However, I was not sure how they might react to a camel caravan. Although usually the complex was alive with adults and children, no one was in sight.
The angel continued. "We have brought your hope chests,"
he said effusively. "Twenty-four chests. Where would you like them?"
My hands went to my face in amazement. I was flooded with so many mixed emotions that I began to laugh and cry at the same time.
"It is all right, Anna," the large angel said comfortingly.
"Do not be troubled. Your Father loves you."
In the parking lot the Bedouin attendants signaled the camels to kneel down. These angels began unloading the chests.
Between the laughing and crying I said, "Can you stack the chests in here [meaning in the living room]?"
"We certainly can," he brightened. He whistled to the other angels and indicated with his head to bring the chests. Then he turned his attention to me again. "Hope is of God, Anna. Each chest your Father gives to you is hope that you can share. This is a greater gift to your Husband than laces and embroidered towels," the angel smiled.
The attendants began carrying the chests into the living room with two angels holding each chest. All of these angels wore camel-colored, desert clothing. After delivering a chest, each pair of angels smiled broadly like those wishing to show themselves extremely agreeable. Then they returned to the caravan.
The chests seemed to be covered in camel skin. They were large and looked something like treasure chests. The five straps encircling each chest were gold, and the two handles for carrying were an intense blue. The opening for a key on each chest was encased in gold, with the shape of the keyhole itself being a cross. No one ever gave me a physical key, however.
Because of their size, the chests stacked up to, and then through, the apartment ceiling.
The large angel rocked back and forth on his heels enjoying the sight. "Yes," he smiled, "there is great hope here."
Then he took a pencil from behind his ear and pulled out a clipboard that held a receipt. "Sign here, please," he said, extending the clipboard to me.
"What name should I use?" I asked. "Anna would be fine."
I wrote "Anna" on the white receipt and then handed the clipboard back to him.
"All right," he said with a sigh that denoted closure of a mission. He pulled out the under copy of the receipt and handed it to me. "Here is your receipt. Twenty-four chests full of hope."
Suddenly, I remembered Rebekah and how she had watered the camels as well as drawn water for Abraham's servant. "Would you like some water or something?" I asked haltingly, not sure of what to say.
"Oh, no," he laughed. "We have better water than your city's water system can supply. We will be going now before we draw a crowd."
"Thank you for bringing the chests," I said. "Our pleasure," he smiled. "Shalom."
The attendants whistled and clicked their tongues for the camels to rise. The large angel grasped the reins attached to the headgear of the lead camel and guided him around so that the caravan could reverse its direction in the parking lot. Then he and the camels with their attendants began to leave. Suddenly, they disappeared.
Just as suddenly, life in the apartment complex returned to normal.
I closed the door and leaned against it looking at the chests piled through the ceiling. 'Thank You, Daddy," I whispered.
My Father spoke audibly again. "You have a bigger and better hope than any princess brought to her wedding day. Now," He continued, "come up here."
Amazingly, in my spirit, I began to rise.